Heights Youth Club travels to El Salvador
Front Row: Stephanie Pedicini (IPM interpretor), Jasmine Davis, Stephanie Simon, Kylia Washington Back Row: Olivia Morgan, Kimberly Morgan, Cameron Steele, Roscoe Morgan (Club Director) [Photo Courtesy of Kimberly Morgan]
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The board of directors and the members of the Heights Youth Club (HYC) offered their thanks to the Sheffler family for sponsoring a second International Partners in Mission (IPM) immersion experience to Central America. Five HYC delegates, and two chaperones, traveled to El Salvador in August for a one-week visit to that country. All parties connected with the trip agree that the experience will have a lasting impact on the young travelers.
While in El Salvador, the teens met a group of women who had campaigned to bring well water to their community of 96 families. One of the women, Conchita, told the group that when they finally struck water, everyone cheered and hugged and cried tears of joy together.
Today, the community receives water every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for two hours each day. Everyone knows when the water will be turned on, so can they prepare their containers. Because the children no longer have the chore of carrying the water to the village, they can attend school.
The women also worked to purchase a mill to enable them to grind corn for flour. The mill provides six women a monthly salary of about $12 each. The women also saved enough money to buy an oven, which enables them to bake bread from the corn they have milled. The bread they bake feeds their community and saves the people much money.
The Salvadoran people express pride in their heritage through art: murals, posters, celebrations and memorial parks. The group toured the art studio of local artist Fernando Llort, whose art is characterized by bright colors and powerful symbolism. Much of Llort’s art represents the faith, work and labors of Monsignor Oscar Romero, a Catholic priest martyred during the country’s civil war. Llort believes his work “is a gift from God for the people of El Salvador” and teaches his techniques to other local artists.
The travelers met several Salvadoran living legends, who taught the word da’le (pronounced doll-eh), which means “to keep going, striving, taking a stand for what is important to each person.” In the coming months, the young travelers will present their perspective of the Salvadoran immersion experience—and the da’le each has gained.
For more information about this and other IPM immersion experiences, go to www.ipmconnect.org.
Kimberly Morgan is board administrator for the Heights Youth Club.